I have spent 4yrs of my life in Sikkim at a place known as Majhitar approx 45min away from the beautiful capital city Gangtok. One of the reason for me choosing Sikkim Manipal as the institute which would give me my engineering degree was that I knew I would be close to my passion of sports which I surely was.
I say people of Sikkim are born with three passions rest all the other they develop with time first being Music second being good Food and third being Football. You walk on the streets of Sikkim and every second shop is going to be a Momo point and all shops have their own peculiar taste. You make a friend in Sikkim and he surely must be either a master of some musical instrument or would surely have a good taste in music. Every small little gully every small little roof every small little house every small little school you would see a big lot of kids with a spark in their eyes that they just might be the next Baichung to represent their country in the beautiful game football.
But out of the thousand people including people of my age and also small little kid who can dribble the ball like say may be Messi or shoot a ball like Ronaldo does only 20 are able to manage the courage to risk their life for the love of football. And I say they are not wrong why should they risk their life in something you are not sure even if you give your 200% to it all you might end up is say may be a Physical education teacher at some school where you wouldn’t be even sure if you be able to cater for your family needs. At the end of the day everyone doesn’t have a luck as some of our premier footballers of our country have not everyone is born with the luck of Sunil Chhetri or Jeje who gave their life to this beautiful game and thrived on the concept of 80% perspiration and 20% inspiration to be who they are today.
But for everyone to know footballers like Messi have had a difficult early life, diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 11 his family didn’t have that much money for his treatment but his family and Barcelona saw what he was capable of and was hence brought to La Masia where he was treated on a daily basis and was also trained and rest all is history now for what he has become. In the same way Didier Drogba who is right now the best centre forward the world would ever seen was born in a poor family in Ivory Coast which is far far behind economically as compared to India which is till date affected by wars and communalism. All the football superstar of the modern football world have one thing in common that they had always someone to believe in them.
Why wouldn’t a boy from Sikkim get into a government job where he would not only be getting good money but would very easily be able to give his family a comfortable life rather than getting in football where his future is not even 5% clear. While my stay in Sikkim I have seen only one good stadium where the infrastructure seems close to being nice that being the one in Gangtok. Surely a footballer is born on the streets but he is developed to come on the world stage if he has the infrastructure to support him. Scouts are not the first stage of finding a star but its their parents and his teacher who go out of their way to bring their child or student to the eyes of a scout or a person who is established enough to move things here and there and show it to their child what he can really do it and what he can grow up to be. I swear I have seen people from around the world but people from India are more down to earth than anyone because they have a strong culture and traditions as the base for their upbringing, which is one of the most important factor cause of which our thinking is not at all out of the box.
But I don’t know if you all would agree to me or not but a budding footballer from India has to have that out of the box thinking to prove everyone around him wrong and show the world what Indians are capable of. We Indians are known in the world of Engineering, Doctors, Politicians, Scientists, Sports and almost all the professional field so I can’t stop myself but believe we are able enough to bring up 15 footballers to the world stage. For that we need the support of our family, our teachers, our coaches and our government but most importantly the richy rich entrepreneurs who are ranked along with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson to believe that India does have a bright future even in football. So that many of my friends who were superstars in my college because of the talent they displayed on the field who are now working in IT industries or into government job and letting their talent and passion for the game go in vain, they see to that their children get to do what they want in life.
I have huge respect for Dr. Mallya and Venky’s group for what they doing on the football circuit but its time we from within the country bring up our scouting level, infrastructure level and thinking level that would bring Indian football to world stage. Is it necessary that football should have been commonwealth games then only we can have world class infrastructure for the most loved game in the world. For those who think is it worth investing in yes it is cause most of richest human being in the world are in some way or other are involved in sports I think this should be the biggest evidence for all.
I would also contradict those who think the support for football is not that much in India i am sure it is not that much as Cricket is but go look at the sales of football merchandise in our country is increasing exponentially every year. If that doesn’t ring a bell go check out the number of hits www.thehardtackle.com , www.indianfootballnetwork.com, www.goal.com/en-in and www.isport.in get every day and most recently the kind of support India’s first football magazine 90minutes has received that shows the increasing interest in football in India. Its high time we bring Indian football on worlds map.
And I am very happy to hear that Blackburn Rovers owned by Venky’s group is thinking of opening up an academy in India and Bayer Munich is taking 4 Indian kids to be trained in Allianz arena in Germany. Hope many more steps of this form are taken in coming days not only from outside but from inside also.